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Press Release

New Haven Man Charged with Crack Cocaine Distribution and Ammunition Possession Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford has returned an indictment charging BRIAN WARD, 29, of New Haven, with narcotics distribution and ammunition possession offenses.

The indictment was returned on August 31, 2019.  Ward appeared today via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam and pleaded not guilty to the charges.  He has been detained since August 18.

As alleged in court documents, on July 21, 2021, law enforcement arrested Ward’s associate, Zaquawn Arrington, on a federal criminal complaint at Arrington’s West Haven residence.  Ward was present at Arrington’s residence at the time of the arrest.  A search of the residence revealed crack cocaine, a digital scale, and $2,075 in cash.  During the search, investigators observed Ward throw a bag from the house.  The bag contained crack cocaine packaged for distribution.  Later that day, investigators conducted a court-authorized search of Ward’s New Haven residence and seized a pistol box containing four ammunition magazines, and a box of 39 9mm rounds.

It is alleged that Ward was previously convicted of state felony drug and assault offenses.  It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

It is further alleged that Ward is seen on surveillance video firing a gun at a group of individuals immediately after one of the individuals shot and killed his associate on August 8, 2021, in Hamden.

The indictment charges Ward with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”), which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of possession of ammunition by a felon, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

Arrington has been charged separately with federal narcotics offenses and is awaiting trial.

Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force, the New Haven Police Department and the West Haven Police Department.  The Task Force includes members from the Connecticut State Police, Connecticut Department of Correction and the New Haven, Milford, East Haven and West Haven Police Departments.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Pierpont, Jr.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated September 8, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses